In 2020, our Programme consolidated its leading position in exposome research, with its participation in four of the nine projects of the European Human Exposome Network, including the coordination of ATHLETE. This European-funded project will develop a toolbox to evaluate the effects of a large group of environmental exposures, from the prenatal stage to adolescence. In a series of studies using the exposome approach, we show that the urban environment can raise the risk of obesity and higher blood pressure from very early ages (1-3). Other key results and discoveries by our researchers include:
- Early exposure to air pollution (4,5), organophosphate pesticides (6) and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (7) are all associated with changes in brain structure and connectivity.
- DNA methylation is a marker of exposure to air pollution and smoking during pregnancy and the first years of life, and is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders (8-10).
- Infant weight gain in the first years of life is associated with lung function and the risk of wheezing in later childhood (11).
- Maternal diet during pregnancy plays an important role in the child’s neurodevelopment (12-14).